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Additional training and development support


The NIHR recognises that pursuing a research career has challenges, particularly for certain healthcare professions. Issues such as job security, balancing clinical responsibilities and finding suitable supervisors can all be barriers. This is why, as well as funding Fellowships, the NIHR also provides financial support to help you get to the next stage in your career.

The schemes on this page are open to a wide range of health and social care professionals, working in a range of settings. However, we are particularly keen for applications from professions that are often underrepresented within research. If you are a nurse, midwife, allied health professional, healthcare scientist, pharmacist or dentist, or you work in public health, social care or primary care, we want to hear from you.

To discuss any of these schemes in more detail, you can:

Pre-Application Support Fund

Open to all career levels, the Pre-Application Support Fund provides additional funding for you to prepare a competitive application to an NIHR career development scheme in the future. If you’re in a group or profession that is typically unrepresented within NIHR funding, this award aims to give you extra support.

Key information:

  • Funding can be requested for up to 1 year.
  • Applicants should clearly demonstrate why extra support is needed and how the Pre-Application Support Fund will help enhance their planned application.
  • The funding is flexible to provide the additional support required by applicants, but applicants may wish to request salary support, relevant training and application development support costs.
  • Funding rounds open regularly throughout the year.

Find out more about the next round of the Pre-Application Support Fund

Senior Clinical and Practitioner Research Award (SCPRA)

The SCPRA provides 2-5 years of funding for senior individuals at postdoctoral level to engage in research activities. The award offers you flexibility to propose a range of research activities to support career development.

Key information:

  • The award provides funding for between 20 and 50% protected time from within your current role to cover salary, and a contribution towards training and development, including associated research activities.
  • It does not provide funding for a substantive research project.
  • Round 1 has closed to applicants. Round 2 opens in autumn 2024.

Read more about the scheme in the round 1 guidance notes

Development and Skills Enhancement (DSE) Award

The DSE Award is a postdoctoral level award for early to mid-career researchers. It provides you with up to 2 years of funding to support the development of specific skills and experience to underpin the next phase of your health and social care research career.

Key information:

  • You will need to show how this award will help build your skills and experience, and progress your research career.
  • The application form is continuously available for applicants to complete.
  • There are three possible submission windows throughout the year.

Find out more and apply for the DSE Award

Read how clinical psychologist Dr Maria Loades used her Development and Skills Enhancement Award to progress her research career

Partnership schemes

The NIHR collaborates with partner organisations to offer innovative career opportunities for health and social care researchers.

This award funds UK cancer researchers to spend between 6 and 12 months in the USA at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Intramural Institutes. Its funded through a partnership between the NIHR and the MRC. In-kind support is provided from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) NCI.

This scheme is run in partnership with the Medical Research Council (MRC). It funds research-qualified health professionals who are not currently undertaking any substantial research activity and supports them to form collaborative partnerships.

Co-funded in the UK by the NIHR and the Health Foundation, the Harkness Fellowships in Health Care Policy and Practice fund successful applicants to spend 1 year in the United States. Here they will conduct internationally comparative research with mentorship from leading experts.

These placements aim to cultivate entrepreneurial skills and strengthen relationships between academia, the health and care sector and industry. Five NIHR Academy Members are currently undertaking placements in innovative commercial environments, facilitated by Zinc.